Someone put up a FanShot of an article about David Garrard's legacy, and I'm not going to link the site because where it was from (it involves seats). However, the article referenced Garrard as leaving behind an epic legacy as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and even went so far as to call him the face of the franchise. Now, I disagree with both of those assertions, as I think most of us will agree his tenure in Jacksonville certainly hasn't been "epic" and Maurice Jones-Drew has been the face of the franchise since mid-season 2006, his rookie year.
But, what will David Garrard's legacy be?
Garrard's been the Jacksonville Jaguars full-time starter since Byron Leftwich went down with "cranky ankle" in the 2006 season. While prior to 2007, he wasn't officially the "starter", he started 10 games in 2006 and started the 2007 as the number one quarterback. Here's what he's done, statistically, in that time frame.
His numbers as a starter aren't horrible, but they're not great either. They typically fall right around the league average, which I think most of us feel is what David Garrard is. His record as a starter in that time frame is 34-34 (61-61 in his career) and he's 1-1 in the post season. So, he's .500... which is about average. That's not however what I would call an "epic" legacy.
Garrard is what I like to call a "bridge" quarterback. The first "good" quarterback the Jacksonville Jaguars has was Mark Brunell. His numbers weren't gaudy, but he won games and made big plays when it mattered and he won in the playoffs. After Mark Brunell, we got the Byron Leftwich era. While it wasn't as horrible as most fans make it out to be, it wasn't good either. Leftwich did leave Jacksonville with a winning record as a starter, but there was nothing doing in the playoffs and he just couldn't stay on the field. Then in 2007 David Garrard had a career season, which I still think is the best of his career, behind an excellent running game and lead the team to the playoffs. He made his career defining play in the first round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers late in the game on a 4th down quarterback draw for a first down, what some of us like to call the "$60 million scramble".
Following the 2007 season, Garrard was rewarded with an ill-advised high dollar contract extension that saddled him with the football team. I say ill-advised for the sole reason that it felt rushed, to me. Garrard had had just a single good season under his belt, and it was coming off the previous season in which he was benched in the final game for his play. Garrard was still under contract, and there was no real reason to rush it, but they did.
Since that 2007 season, the Jaguars have posted a winning record. While they've battled injuries and virtually "gutted" the roster in what they've been afraid to call, up until now, in rebuilding mode. It's hard for a quarterback to win going through that, but good quarterbacks typically over come things like that. Garrard's play for the most part from 2006 to now has been consistently inconsistent, and remains one of the most frustrating players to watch.
As I said before, he hasn't been terrible, but he hasn't been great. He's been a nice bridge for a team who's been seemingly afraid to touch the quarterback position since they whiffed on Byron Leftwich. Garrard's been good enough to keep them out of the basement of the division, but they've still not posted a winning season since his first. He's also shown a habit to "melt down" so to speak as the season wears on and the games become more important.
It's possible Garrard will not return for the 2011 season, and if he does it's likely to be his last as a Jaguar.
To me, Garrard's legacy as a Jacksonville Jaguar can be summed up in a single word: Frustrating.
How will you remember his legacy?